Joe Nathan To Undergo Tommy John Surgery

Minnesota Twins closer Joe Nathan will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery, according to Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (via Twitter). Nathan played a game of catch today, and decided afterward that his right elbow required surgery.

Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune writes that Nathan hasn't decided yet where or when he'll have the surgery, but hopes to get it done as soon as possible, aiming to be ready to pitch by Opening Day 2011.

In the meantime, the injury will leave the Twins with a gaping hole in the ninth inning, a spot Nathan had dominated over the past few years. Since joining Minnesota, Nathan has been perhaps the most effective closer in baseball, recording a 1.87 ERA since 2004, with an average of 41 saves per season.

To replace Nathan, the Twins could use an in-house candidate such as Jon Rauch or Matt Guerrier. Or, they could look to make a trade. We've already heard that they might be interested in Heath Bell and Jason Frasor. Now that there's no question that Nathan will miss the 2010 campaign, the team's search for a replacement could become more aggressive.


50 Responses to Joe Nathan To Undergo Tommy John Surgery Leave a Reply

  1. Guest 5 years ago

    The real question is, what number will Heath Bell be wearing when he gets traded to the Twins. Delmon Young wears number 21.

    This is sad news. Sad news for Baseball fans across America. Joe Nathan is a great guy and a great pitcher. Hope to see you soon Joe!

  2. Ferrariman 5 years ago

    man that sucks for the twins. they finally get a legit world series contending team and now lose one of the crucial pieces. Their gonna have to be less stingy about keeping top prospects if they hope to trade for heath bell. or they can give up a top-mid ish prospect for frasor, but id rather just have Rauch close.

  3. Wow that sucks. They need to trade for Heath Bell so they can get a legit closer if they hope to contend.

  4. lefty58 5 years ago

    Terrible news for Nathan and the Twins.
    It looked like an easy trip to the playoffs this year with no real competition in the division, and though they are still favorites this certainly brings the pack closer and another significant injury changes everything.

    • jwsox 5 years ago

      no real contention in the division? have you seen the whitesox pitching staff? have you seen that rios remember how to play baseball and gordon beckham is awesome at 2nd? and that carlos is back to his home run hitting ways and the andruw jones is seemingly having an extreme comeback year? no real contention? with the loss of nathan(the best pitcher on their staff) i would give a slight edge to the sox now… but only slights i honestly though it was 50/50 twins or sox i would have to say its probably 52/48 sox over twins now

      • how is andruw jones seemingly having an extreme comeback year? there like 12 games into spring training

      • how is andruw jones seemingly having an extreme comeback year? there like 12 games into spring training

      • lefty58 5 years ago

        What makes you think Beckham will be any good at 2nd? he has been pretty bad everywhere else he has tried to play.
        Rios? Post contract, he has sucked, pre contract, he was pretty good, at least he is solid defensively.
        You can have the pitching staff, the starters may be decent but the pen outside of Thornton is as bad as it gets.
        Teahen, Ramirez, Beckham and AJ in the infield and with Pierre and Quentin , there is no team in the league worse than them defensively. Those starters better be great.
        And we’ll see how Peavy turns out after a few runs through the league. Flyball pitchers do great in the NL West, with some of the best pitchers parks in the majors, but moving to the Cell and the smallest park in the majors might not be so good to him long term.

        i think this is one of Kenny’s worst teams so far, and no , I don’t see the Sox as real competition.

        • jwsox 5 years ago

          staff is only good? and the bullpen besides thorton isas bad as it gets…putz is an injuried season away from 30 saves and jenks is one of the best closers in the game..not nathan or mo but no one is…jenks is right there at the top…and how was beckham bad every where he tried to play? just becuase you dont watch sox games does not make him bad…the kid never played 3rd before last season yes, not so great to start but figured it out fast and started to be up there(not opinion this was stated by mlb and espn people) with some of the better 3rd basemen in the game….and peavy is not a fly ball pitcher have you ever watched him he a perfect mix of fly ball and K pitcher besides he was 3-0 with around a 1 era last season with the sox…dude research before you jump to conclusions

          another note about bullpens besides joe nathan who did the twins have? jon rauch who has bounced around from different teams because he is bad there is no one else in the bullpen besides joe nathan

          • lefty58 5 years ago

            There is no way you could possibly be serious with that post, so good one.

            I thought the Putz and Jenks ones were the funniest.

            But pretending that Peavy wasn’t a flyball pitcher is right up there with it.

        • danks50 5 years ago

          Worst defense in the league? Good one considering the Twins have two of the league’s worst outfielders playing both corners and are moving a player best suited for left field to center. The Sox are twice as good as the Twins in the outfield and are solid all around the diamond excluding the hot corner.

          Beckham was initially awful at 3rd after you know never playing the position before in his life, but came around and was solid at the end of the season. He’ll be fine at 2nd as he has had time to adjust and is a natural middle infielder.

          As for the pen Bobby as long as he’s healthy is fine at the back end, Thornton is one of the best set up men in baseball and Putz is a stud when healthy which apparently he is. We also have a fireballer in Tony Pena, we’ll be fine if there all healthy. Your post was ridiculous as your putting way too much stock in a very good offense and the Twins pitching staff is nothing to write home about and the pen is significantly weakened after losing Nathan. The Sox will be right in the mix despite your believe that the Twins are some AL Central powerhouse.

          • lefty58 5 years ago

            First off, I do not think the Twins are a powerhouse, I do believe that the rest of the division is so bad that this year will be an easy one for them if they stay healthy.

            Next, any outfield that includes Carlos Quentin (Herman Munster) and Jaun Pierre is going to be very bad. The Twins outfield D may not be great, but their infield D is one of the best in baseball. Teahen, Ramirez and AJ in any infield guarantees a bad infield defense even if Beckham isn’t as bad as most expect and we have all seen this year. I too, think in time he will be fine at 2nd and that it was beyond irresponsible of the Sox to play a guy who clearly couldn’t handle 3rd to throw him out there the way they did.
            But a Beckham/ Ramirez combo up the middle should be funny to watch this year ( if they can figure out a way to keep Ramirez awake or at least concerned).

            I think Kenny did a really bad job this year and the way he’s been throwing Ozzie under the bus all winter ( “this is the kind of guy Ozzie wants”) , I think he knows it too.

          • danks50 5 years ago

            I’ve had this agruement several times with Twins fans and they’re ignorance about their defense continues to amaze me. Alexei Ramirez spacing out is a legitimate agruement but towards the end of the season (about the last month or two) he seems to improve his focus and was great at short. He has awesome range and a absolute cannon and will play there just fine. I don’t see Gordon Beckham having trouble at 2nd as he adjusted to 3rd without any experiance is a natural middle infielder anyways. As for Mark Teahen I don’t have much faith in him and if I was a betting man I’d say he’ll probably be well below average at third.

            Juan Pierre is not a bad defensive player. He’s got enough speed and gets good enough reads to play fine in left. He’s arm is well documented as below average but I’m not too worried about that as his range is good enough to track down alot of flyballs. Quentin on the other hand won’t be good if he’s playing on two bum feet, but if he’s healthy he won’t hurt you too much in right, in 08 he was a little below average but is fine for a corner outfielder and he’ll likely split some of the time with Andruw Jones who is surprisingly in awesome shape this year and is one of the best outfielders of the last ten years.

            Then you have the Twins and honestly anyone familiar with fangraphs should be ashamed to argue about another teams defense after you see the numbers.

            UZR/150
            Delmon Young LF: last year: -25.6, career: -18.9
            Michael Cuddyer RF: last year: -22.1, career: -10.1

            Yes they both have cannons but that is quite possible the worst corner outfielders in baseball. Those numbers are Jermaine Dye bad and even though I love JD that’s absolutely pathetic. On top of that Span has been below average in center (which admittedly is a small sample size and may very well change). The two outfields don’t even compare, and as for your elite “one of the best” infields in baseball you seem to have fallen under the Orlando Hudson = Gold Glove 2nd basement spell when he couldn’t even post a UZR of 1 run above average in the last 4 years. & despite your beliefs watching the top 10 defensive plays on ESPN does not qualify for amazing defense.

          • twins33 5 years ago

            The one thing I have to say, I’ve heard the Dome has rated UZR bad for our RF’s. I don’t know what the ratings have been for other RF’s who have played for us so I don’t know if that’s true. UZR assumes that the RF can catch high ball off of the wall. It assumes Cuddyer can jump up to 15-20 feet high to catch a ball off of the baggie. If it’s true, which I wouldn’t be surprised, then there’s your answer for Cuddyer. I don’t think he’s great defensively, but certainly not what he’s been rated in the Dome.

            As for Delmon, I dunno. I know he’s not great either but he always said he couldn’t see the ball in the roof. This year will tell, but he still runs funny anyway.

            The wall is still going to be there in the new park, so maybe nothing will change. At least for Cuddyer. I wish they had splits for home/away UZR.

  5. pinkiepinkerton 5 years ago

    Count me as part of the crowd that wants them to try out Guerrier, Rauch and even Crain. I don’t want a closer by committee, but they all deserve an individual opportunity opportunity to show they can handle it for the duration. Neshek should get a shot too, depending on how his arm is doing.

    Should the results be less than satisfactory, then the FO moves. Those trades will be available thru July. No need to make a shortsighted deal until in-house options are exhausted.

    • Not that I disagree with you but the devil’s advocate would ask what if none of them work and you have a month or so of a shoddy back-end of the bullpen? The division can’t be won in March and April, but it sure can be lost then.

      • NYBravosFan10 5 years ago

        yeah, just ask the Pirates and Nationals. It happens to them every year.

        • Or you can look no farther than the team we’re fans of. We dug ourselves into such a hole in the first half that we couldn’t dig ourselves out even with a fantastic second half.

        • Or you can look no farther than the team we’re fans of. We dug ourselves into such a hole in the first half that we couldn’t dig ourselves out even with a fantastic second half.

      • NYBravosFan10 5 years ago

        yeah, just ask the Pirates and Nationals. It happens to them every year.

  6. 0vercast 5 years ago

    Terrible news to wake up to. Hopefully he can still benefit the team with leadership.

  7. ellisburks 5 years ago

    It is bad news for the Twins and baseball fans but they have a good bullpen and they have several candidates eg(Crain, Neshek…) I think they will be fine.

  8. switchhitingjesus 5 years ago

    Who would the twins give up for Bell if they were to acquire him?

  9. Rich_in_NJ 5 years ago

    With the way Nathan pitched against the Yankees in the playoffs, I suspected that an arm injury may have been responsible, although I never thought it was this serious.

    Best of luck to him for a full recovery.

  10. Not terribly shocked, it’s hard to pitch with a torn ligament in your elbow. While as a Sox fan I wish the Twins nothing but failure, it sucks when these things happen. Plus now we’ll never hear the end of it if they actually do mange to make the playoffs without Nathan.

    • wintwins 5 years ago

      if u think losing Nathan is gonna let your sox in the playoffs ur wrong this Twins team is gonna win at least 10 more games than the Sox

  11. Not terribly shocked, it’s hard to pitch with a torn ligament in your elbow. While as a Sox fan I wish the Twins nothing but failure, it sucks when these things happen. Plus now we’ll never hear the end of it if they actually do mange to make the playoffs without Nathan.

  12. TimotheusATL 5 years ago

    The kind of player Joe Nathan is was shown with him even TRYING to pitch with a torn elbow ligament. He’s got tons of heart.

  13. TimotheusATL 5 years ago

    The kind of player Joe Nathan is was shown with him even TRYING to pitch with a torn elbow ligament. He’s got tons of heart.

  14. NYBravosFan10 5 years ago

    Wow, sorry Twins fans. Just remember your offense is still there and so is the rest of the team. You might just have to lose some prospects in order to get Heath Bell, whom is no doubt the best candidate.

  15. NYBravosFan10 5 years ago

    Wow, sorry Twins fans. Just remember your offense is still there and so is the rest of the team. You might just have to lose some prospects in order to get Heath Bell, whom is no doubt the best candidate.

  16. bigpat 5 years ago

    Time to trade Mauer, haha.

  17. bigpat 5 years ago

    Time to trade Mauer, haha.

  18. jwsox 5 years ago

    the twins better hope that their pitching staff actually does something this year, they better hope that lariano can show that 07(?) was not a fluke and that scott baker and the rest can stay healthy and actually pitch becuase teams are not going to be scared going into the 9th only down by 3 or less runs anymore…

  19. Ferrariman 5 years ago

    when mauer gets signed, ramos becomes expendable. so a ramos-bell swap makes a little sense. still think the twins would be giving up too much.

  20. jwsox 5 years ago

    why would he be expendable? the twins still need a back up and mauer will more than likely be moves to first or even DH sooner than later to get the most out of him thus allowing ramos to play more

    • Ferrariman 5 years ago

      but why would you have such a good prospect like ramos rot away as a backup catcher when he can net you a legit starter/closer. And mauer is like…27. just for comparison, pudge rodriguez is still catching at age 37 and won a gold glove at age 35. and posada is like 87 and still kickin it. i think mauer will have plenty of time before he needs to be moved away from catcher.

      • twins33 5 years ago

        I don’t know if it’s the right decision, but I would probably hold on to Ramos through this year. I wouldn’t want to use him on a closer, but I definitely want a good starter out of him. I say let him play in AAA this year, if something happens to Mauer then we still have Ramos as insurance. I may even want to push it and hold on to him for two years. It depends on how fast he develops, so far so good.

    • Ferrariman 5 years ago

      but why would you have such a good prospect like ramos rot away as a backup catcher when he can net you a legit starter/closer. And mauer is like…27. just for comparison, pudge rodriguez is still catching at age 37 and won a gold glove at age 35. and posada is like 87 and still kickin it. i think mauer will have plenty of time before he needs to be moved away from catcher.

  21. Shoeless_Joe 5 years ago

    The Twins should not empty the farm to get Heath Bell. Instead of overpaying for a guy who is an established closer it would make more sense for them to try and turn some hard thrower into one. All closers start somewhere and I fell Minnesota management has enough foresight to find a guy who can take the next step.

  22. BaseballFan0707 5 years ago

    This is a terrible shame. Thankfully, the Twins have SOMETHING to be happy about with the Mauer extension.

    Wish you all the best, Joe Nathan! Get healthy soon!

  23. Trious 5 years ago

    I wouldn’t count Nathan back from returning and doing very well next season

    We always see these TJ guys come back throwing BETTER than ever

  24. rico7961 5 years ago

    My opinion on the Twins closer situation is to try Anthony Slama at the position first. My reasoning: Leave everybody else in their respective roles. You start moving people to different roles and it can have a domino effect on your whole bullpen. Try Slama first; and if he doesn’t work out you can always trade for a closer. Let our prospects play in the minors and mature more to give us more of an accurate picture of their full potential. I like Heath Bell but I would try to fill the spot from within before giving up some good prospects. We can always try to get Bell later on if nobody fills the role. Although the price will be higher yet. But thats the chance the Twins have to take right now.

    • twins33 5 years ago

      The problem with Slama, though I am definitely for the idea of him at least being called up, is that he’s not on the 40 man. Someone will have to be kicked off and it likely won’t be Punto/Tolbert or any guy who’d deserve it.

      I’d go with Neshek to be honest, but that’s if he wasn’t coming back from injury. I know they’ll ease him in to pitching, but he’s best suited for it out of all the guys we have on the ML roster. At least I think so.

  25. RestoreTheRoar 5 years ago

    dude…..too early.

  26. Then you need to find someone with better skills.

  27. NYBravosFan10 5 years ago

    lol, what did he say? I love when stupid comments get removed!!!

  28. NYBravosFan10 5 years ago

    lol, what did he say? I love when stupid comments get removed!!!

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